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2012 FC Dallas Preview

Discussion in 'Thread Archive' started by The Richuation, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Jul 18, 2010


    Depth chart: 1. Kevin Hartman, 2. Chris Seitz, 3. Richard Sanchez

    Strengths: Hartman is the MLS all-time leader in nearly every statistical category for goalkeeping. Though now 37, “El Gato” managed a 1.06 goals-against average in 2011, good for fourth-best in the league. Seitz is also a capable backup if called upon, having started 30 games in his five MLS seasons.

    Weaknesses: Though Seitz is competent, Sanchez has never seen the field in MLS play. He did win a FIFA U-17 World Cup with Mexico last summer, but his experience in MLS has been limited to Reserve League action.

    Wildcard: A significant injury to Hartman would be devastating to the club. Though he might be the future at the age of 17, Sanchez isn’t ready to be the No. 2. Dallas would be left scrambling for help. Perhaps the Richard Wright trial was a just-in-case experiment.

    READ: 2012 FC Dallas Preview


    Depth chart: LB 1. Jair Benítez, 2. Carlos Rodríguez, 3. Moises Hernandez; CB 1. Ugo Ihemelu - George John, 2. Hernán Pertúz, 3. Matt Hedges; RB 1. Zach Loyd, 2. Carlos Rodríguez, 3. Christian Ibeagha

    Strengths: Both Benítez and Loyd like to get forward, and Hyndman demands that of his outside backs. With both coming off of solid seasons, the tandem could produce more than seven combined assists in 2012. Rodríguez is also proving to be a solid addition to this group and could push Benítez on the left side.

    Weaknesses: Communication. John is back in the fold for now, but missed all of preseason while on loan at West Ham. Pertúz, meanwhile, is adjusting to a new team, a new league and a new language. Hartman and Ihemelu are vocal leaders, but could communication limit the Colombian’s effectiveness?

    Wildcard: It was John until he returned from West Ham. With the big defender back in the fold, the team should have good depth at CB, as Pertúz and Hedges form a solid reserve behind one of MLS' best starting tandems.

    SEE: Preseason Schedule and Results


    Depth chart: LM 1. Brek Shea, 2. Carlos Rodríguez, 3. Jair Benítez; CM 1. Andrew Jacobson, 2. Ricardo Villar; RM 1. Fabián Castillo, 2. Andrew Wiedeman, 3. Bryan Leyva; DCM 1. Daniel Hernandez, 2. Bobby Warshaw, 3. Andrew Jacobson; CAM 1. David Ferreira, 2. Ricardo Villar

    Strengths: The starting midfield is balanced and fits what manager Schellas Hyndman is looking for. Hernandez and Jacobson fit their roles well in the middle of the field, while Castillo, Shea and Ferreira provide plenty of service and attacking verve.

    Weaknesses: Health. Hernandez (knee), Jacobson (knee) and Ferreira (ankle) are all still recovering this preseason from surgery. Can they stay healthy all season? If not, there is concern that the depth isn’t there.

    Wildcard: Castillo. The speedy Colombian is a dangerous attacking option on the ball. Should he assume the starting right midfield spot, he could produce big numbers opposite Shea. If he does indeed start, who’s the first guy off the bench?

    READ: FC Dallas 2011 season statistics


    Depth chart: 1. Blas Pérez, 2. Fabián Castillo, 3. Scott Sealy, 4. Ruben Luna, 5. Jonathan Top

    Strengths: Versatility. Pérez is a big target with a powerful finishing stroke. The speedy Castillo is dangerous on the ball and excels in space. When on the field together, these two create the perfect storm for any backline.

    Weaknesses: Youth. Outside of Pérez and Sealy, none of the mentioned forwards is older than 20. Luna (20) and Top (19) have seen a combined two games, and Castillo (19) is largely ineffective as a lone forward.

    Wildcard: Sealy showed he can score in this league back in his younger days, but he has not found the back of the net since 2008. Should he enter the season healthy and fit, he could become the useful and experienced scorer Hyndman is seeking behind Pérez.

    Setting the Scene

    The 2011 season was a roller coaster for FC Dallas. After a slow start, 2010 MVP David Ferreira fractured his ankle, ending his year. Inexplicably, Dallas responded with a nine-game unbeaten streak to surge atop the conference standings. But a busy schedule and untimely scoring drought ultimately doomed the club down the stretch, as they crashed out in the Wild Card round of the MLS Cup Playoffs at the hands of New York.

    Latin invasion sets Dallas apart

    However, the team that will open the season against New York on March 11 will look very different than the one that bowed out in October. The club reloaded this offseason, bringing in Panamanian forward Blas Pérez to lead the attack. Though the versatile Jackson and fan favorite Marvin Chávez were shipped out of town, the return of Ferreira should provide yet another boost to a suddenly dangerous Dallas offense.

    Without the international travel of Champions League play, the club will welcome a much calmer and restful 2012.


    In and Out
    IN: F Blas Pérez (1/3: free/Indios de Ciudad Juárez); D Hernán Pertúz (1/3: free/Independiente Medellín); D Matt Hedges (1/12: SuperDraft); D Alex Lee (1/17: supplemental draft); F Walter Hines (1/17: supplemental draft); D Ian Kalis (1/17: supplemental draft); D Carlos Rodríguez (1/20: Tauro FC)

    OUT: D Edson Edward (11/23: waived); D Jeremy Hall (11/29: trade to Toronto); F Maykel Galindo (12/12: option declined); F Maicon Santos (12/12: option declined); M Marvin Chávez (12/16: trade to San Jose); M Jackson (1/18: loan to Cruzeiro)

    READ: 2012 FC Dallas Depth Chart

    Star Attraction: Brek Shea
    The 22-year-old American midfielder took MLS by storm in 2011, scoring 11 goals en route to a third-place finish in the league MVP voting. After a brief training stint with Arsenal this winter and numerous appearances with the US national team, Shea’s stock has never been higher.

    WATCH: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger talks Brek Shea

    But like last season, 2012 will present a physical challenge for Shea, who will be forced to delicately balance his MLS campaign with international duty surrounding Olympic qualifying. However, unlike last season, less responsibility will likely be placed on Shea to jumpstart the Dallas attack. With the addition of Pérez and the return of Ferreira, don’t be surprised to see a drop in his goal scoring total – but his 2011 total of four assists should be quickly surpassed.

    WATCH: 2011 MVP Finalist Brek Shea

    Unsung Hero: Zach Loyd
    American soccer fans are beginning to take notice of the 24-year-old defender, who recently joined the US senior squad for January camp. But Loyd has long been a consistent and critical part of the Dallas defense, starting 47 games over the past two seasons. Though only 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, Loyd possess plus strength and quickness for an outside back. His willingness to join the attack was also apparent last season, as the former Tar Heel recorded four assists and a goal. Playing opposite Jair Benítez and with the addition of Panamanian Carlos Rodríguez, the outside back position is one of strength heading into the season.

    READ: Veteran Ihemelu steps up as FC Dallas' new captain

    Ready for Primetime: Blas Pérez

    Goal scoring has never been an issue for Pérez (pictured right), who has amassed over 150 career goals in stops including Panama, Colombia, Spain, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. He has also proven deadly on the international stage, collecting more than 20 goals for his native Panama – including two against the United States in Gold Cup play.

    Manager Schellas Hyndman promised to make a splash at the position this offseason, so the expectations are high for Pérez in his MLS debut season. If the goals don’t come, the Dallas faithful might get anxious – and rightfully so. His supporting cast should provide plenty of opportunities for him to become the finisher he was brought to Dallas to be.

    READ: FC Dallas' Hyndman expecting big things of Pérez in 2012

    Storylines to Watch
    1. How healthy (and dangerous) is David Ferreira? Ferreira has come alive in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Orlando. After going the full 90 vs. Swedish side BK Häcken, the Colombian played the first half of a 4-0 thumping of Orlando City, scoring a PK goal and assisting on another. But the physicality of the first half took its toll on Ferreira, who is now sporting a bruised Achilles tendon. MLS play won’t be any different.

    READ: Ferreira Watch: FC Dallas' No. 10 is given the boot

    2. Is Pérez the lone answer up top? Hyndman sure believes so. There’s no doubt that the 31-year-old striker has talent, having had successful campaigns with Tigres UANL in 2008 (eight goals) and Pachuca in 2009 (nine goals). But will he regain his scoring touch with Dallas? If not, will a second striker join the attack?

    3. Where’s the depth? Few teams boast the talent that Dallas possess in their starting XI. After that, it’s unclear what to expect from the club’s reserves. Many of the reserves that will be leaned on this season have little to no MLS experience, including Rodriguez, Hernán Pertúz and Andrew Wiedeman. But as international call-ups and injuries deplete the roster this summer, things could get interesting.

    What He Said
    “Any team you go to, you feel some kind of pressure – you don’t have to be a professional. But I’m the type of player that’s ready to step up to the challenge, and that’s what I am going to do here. But the main thing to do is to come together as a team. I’m ready to do what they ask me to do.”

    – FC Dallas striker Blas Pérez

    SEE: 2012 Season Preview Archive

    If Everything Goes Right:
    Few can match the elite talent that FC Dallas possess in their starting XI. The club was just two points shy of the league-leading Galaxy at the midpoint last season. Add a healthy Ferreira back into the mix and a legitimate striker in Pérez, and things are looking up in Dallas.

    Now that George John has returned from West Ham United, the defense will be identical to the one that had a league-best 531-minute shutout streak last season. And few question 37-year-old Kevin Hartman’s ability to have another stellar season in his storied career.

    If Pérez continues to score and Ferreira returns to form, the Dallas attack will be among the best in the league. The wildcard could be 19-year-old Colombian Fabián Castillo, whose speed and moves on the ball place him among the best young attacking players in the league. The youngster is a leading candidate to start at right midfield, but also projects as a dangerous second striker beside Pérez. With Shea attacking on the left side, the goals could pile up this season.

    Without Champions League play, many of the veterans on the squad should have ample time to recover and stay healthy. For players like Daniel Hernandez and Ferreira, this could be critical. If everything goes right in 2012, expect Dallas to be in the thick of the Western Conference race late in the season. And it’s possible this team could be significantly better than the one that came up just short at MLS Cup 2010.
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  2. The Richuation

    The Richuation Walk On

    Jul 18, 2010

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